One of the surprise reunion tours of the year is a brief one, but it holds the possibility of turning into much more for Temple of the Dog. The band released one album in the early ’90s and never officially toured back in the day, due in part to the successes of the band members main gigs in Pearl Jam and Soundgarden. But with the members now back in possession of the masters and plotting an expanded reissue of the self-titled Temple of the Dog disc on Sept. 30, the time has come for Temple of the Dog to take the stage with prospects for more collaboration in the future.
Back in 1990, Mother Love Bone members Jeff Ament and Stone Gossard were in a state of mourning after the death of their vocalist Andrew Wood. Likewise, Wood’s roommate Chris Cornell of Soundgarden fame was deeply affected by Wood passing and he suggested working with Ament and Gossard, as well as Soundgarden drummer Matt Cameron and guitarist Mike McCready from Ament and Gossard’s future band Pearl Jam on music meant as a tribute to Wood. The musicians also welcomed vocalist Eddie Vedder from Ament, Gossard and McCready’s new band to join in on vocals on a few songs as well. And while the album initially didn’t do much upon release, with the explosion of Pearl Jam and Soundgarden over the coming year, the disc eventually got a second look and “Hunger Strike” became a huge hit.
In a new interview with Rolling Stone, Temple of the Dog members Chris Cornell and Mike McCready discussed their upcoming shows, which are still taking shape. Cornell revealed that there have been some discussions on which songs will be played other than the album’s 10 tracks, but both he and McCready seemed reticent to include material from either of their regular bands.
“I feel like that doesn’t feel right in my gut,” Cornell says. “That’s nothing that I talked about with anybody. It’s just you asking and me reacting. It doesn’t feel like the right thing, but I might change my mind.” McCready adds, “I’d love for this to be its own thing. We can maybe do some [Mother] Love Bone songs and some cool covers. But if Chris wants to do ‘Better Man,’ please. That’s fine with me.” In fact, Cornell says it’s more likely that the band would delve into Mother Love Bone’s catalog, as well as material that Andy Wood wrote on his own.
“There are also some songs that Andy wrote outside of Mother Love Bone that may or may not be something we can do,” says the singer. “There’s some other songs from that period we discussed, but there’s been no decision made about anything other than what’s on the album.”
When the time came for the Temple of the Dog shows to be announced, the original five-piece was listed, but special guest Eddie Vedder was not. McCready says it’s not known as of yet if Vedder will drop by to sing on a few tracks, as that is the singer’s own decision, while Cornell adds that it’s not something that’s been discussed as of yet.
The biggest question is if the five-date mini-tour will lead to more. McCready tells Rolling Stone, “I hope if these go well, there will be more in the future. That’s kind of why we didn’t want to do an extensive tour. We just wanted to feel out the landscape. I hope we can go to Europe. It depends on how much fun we have with it, and how much people get out of it.”
And Cornell addressed the idea of the tour and reissue of their sole album leading to more music. He explained, “We’d have to feel really great about the songs. It’s a scary thing. I don’t want to say they’d have to live up to the [first] album, but I wouldn’t want it to take away from it either. It was the same issue with reforming Soundgarden. I’m super excited about writing new songs as long as we don’t detract from what came before, and ultimately we did that. I think the same thing would apply to Temple.”
So, for now, look for the Temple of the Dog album being reissued with previously unheard demos, studio outtakes and live footage on Sept. 30 in a variety of formats. And if you’re lucky enough to be close to one of the five markets Temple of the Dog are playing, make sure to get out to a show.
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